26 NAVY NEWS, JUNE 2010
Posted by numbers
CRS Stan Smith’s serving in two ships with the same pennant number (letters, May) must be quite unusual, particularly as they were both small ships.
Those who served in larger ships may have had more chance of doing so, given that repeated pennant numbers were more common for aircraft carriers, and their large ship’s companies increased such chances.
The mysteries of Maryton
I KNOW correspondence connected with the Mystery Ship competition is not to be entered into, but (separate to my entry of course) I joined April’s mystery, ship, HMS Maryton, in mid-1965 as a trainee midshipman. It was very shortly after her major engagement, and she still had, I was told, over 300 bullet holes in her. I didn’t count. My division included the
locally-employed Chinese cook and steward, their job was ammunition resupply, they were stationed in the wardroom flat, and were unimpressed with bullets which came through one side of the wooden hull and went out the other!
important. As your photo showed, we had two 40 MM Bofors, not the usual one, plus two twin Vickers machine guns, on the bridge wings, the ones with the very old-style ammunition drums, plus another two single Vickers, mounted on either side of the quarterdeck. There were also three Bren
guns, two Rocket Flare Launchers and a 3inch mortar on the bridge. When we opened fire at night at an Indonesian kumpit or outboard boat,
four tracer... Everybody else had a Sterling machine gun or in my case, my Very Own Browning Pistol. I was prisoner reception officer.
it was spectacular, one in Ammunition resupply was
two biggest ABs I could get, who hoisted in the Indonesian prisoners as they came up the jumping ladder – only a few feet above water-level. The prisoner was then swung hard against the engine room bulkhead, to shock him, and I searched him – they used to hide grenades in their shorts. The prisoners had to swim to the ship – after a midshipman was killed as the kumpit he was about to board alongside his sweeper blew up.
I then had to swim out to the captured boat, with a grapnel and line, to tow it in. This was OK by the day but less
so at night, when sea snakes were attracted to all the lights, and there were also the odd hidden four- foot-diameter stinging jellyfish, just below the surface. We also had a dog, Mary, who
had come out with the 6th MSS from Malta. She was well-known, took no
Singapore, getting off at the Union Jack Club (might have been the Britannia Club?) and catching the bus back later.
from the Naval Base into
prisoners amongst the other ships’ dogs, and was quite capable – on her own – of catching the liberty bus
– Ken Napier, Chairman,
Aquitaine Branch RNA, Chazarem, Beaugas, France
I READ with interest the account by Les Wills of his serving in HMS Indefatigable and being hit by kamikazes off Okinawa (April, p29).
This was at the time of
Operation Iceberg under Admiral Halsey and Admiral Nimitz, Task Force 37 and 58. At this time I was serving as a
Royal Marine on HMS Euryalus, a Dido-class cruiser, when we had to go alongside one of the aircraft carriers.
A line was fired across to set up a jackstay to transfer the bombs off the aircraft carrier and put on HMS Euryalus quarterdeck which was shored up to take the extra weight.
This episode doesn’t seem to
be widely known, although I have a copy of the article written by
Lt Cdr Hewitt, damage control officer, which was put in the book Cruiser Experience (by Eric C B Lee). We said at the time if a kamikaze hit us with all the bombs on board we would be not here. I was serving on the bridge as aircraft recognition. At the time the atom bombs
were dropped on Japan we were approximately 1,000 miles off the south-east coast. HMS Euryalus was one of the
first ships to go to Hong Kong for the recuperation.
– K J Taylor, ex-Royal Marine
1943-46, Broadstairs, Kent
You might also be interested to read the review by Professor Eric Groves of the book Fire in the Sky about kamikazes on page 44 – Ed.
This involved having the
RO5 was HMS Eagle (1946) and HMS Invincible (1979), RO6 HMS Centaur (1947) and HMS Illustrious (1982), RO7 HMS Albion (1947) and HMS Ark Royal (1985) – perhaps that sequence means the new carriers should wear RO8 for HMS Bulwark (1948) and Queen Elizabeth and RO9 for HMS Ark Royal (1950) and Prince of Wales? The RN doesn’t seem to have used RO1, RO2, RO3 or RO4, I wonder why not? Indeed, who allocates pennant numbers to new
As a Writer and, later, a Pusser, I was rather pleased with the numerical symmetry of my first serving in HMS Hampshire (DO6) then HMS Albion (RO7) and HMS Bulwark (RO8).
After that I fully expected fate would send me
to HMS Ark Royal (RO9) but she paid off before that was possible, and HMS Troubridge (FO9) had already gone too. So, someone with an upside-down view of life
sent me to HMS Jupiter (F60) and, although HMS Fearless (L10) could have been next, she was not to be.
For a pusser, the pennant number of HMS Hydra (A144) was ever a reminder of the next muster of stores! Not sure how HMS Brave (F94) fits in but there was one thing common to all – they were happy ships.
– Lester May,
Camden Town, London
PS: It was WMP or MRU for a CTP, now it’s RIP. Sad. Bad. Mad.
For those whose mastery of the TLA – or three-letter acronym – is not up to Lester May’s, WMP is ‘with much pleasure,’ MRU is ‘many regrets unavailable’ and CTP is, of course, ‘cocktail party.’ However, media reports of the demise of the CTP have been exaggerated, as we report in the centre pages.
ON April 13, 70 years ago the Royal Navy, in the largest encounter with the enemy since Jutland, destroyed a powerful German naval force of eight destroyers in the narrow confines of Ofotfjord
Warspite at the time and had already decided that on this 70th anniversary, despite being 92, I would make the long trek to beyond the Arctic Circle. With a partial grant from Heroes Return I set off with my carer, David ‘Barney’ Clifton, formerly 45 Commando, on the epic journey. Flying
and on to Oslo we were met by the senior RN Naval Attaché, Lt Col David Summerfield RM, who wined and dined us and put us on the right plane for Narvik. In Narvik, after
nd us or
we were settled in we were met by Major David Smith, the RM Liaison Officer
Co ld d
penhag were RN ol
● The remains of HMS Hardy
In the middle of Ofotfjord poppies over the last
A £25 Amazon voucher to the letter which amuses, impresses or enlightens us the most.
who once more wined and dined us and showed us the town. On the morning of the 13th we
were joined by a wonderful person, Ulf Eirik Torgersen, the curator of Narvik Museum, who has kept the story of the British victory alive. We presented him with a model of HMS Warspite made by Joel Christy (model-maker) of Haxby, in a case made by York Plastics. He took us round the fjords
and gave us flowers to place on the graves of all the British dead, including Capt Warburton Lee, CO of HMS Hardy.
volcanic ash catastrophe hit and after waiting for a further three days we decided to go overland. We travelled the length of Norway, across to Sweden on the ferry, through Sweden,
Germany and France. Two days and five countries
later and minus a small fortune we arrived home. I have to say thank you to my
carer; I could not have managed on my own.
– Bernard Hallas, RM (former
gun captain, HMS Warspite 1935-47, Haxby, York
Denmark, The following Friday the
resting place of HMS Hunter, more than 200 ards beneath my feet, and the Lady Mayor of Narvik gave me a wreath of fresh flowers to lay upon the ice-cold waters as a tribute from the people of Narvik.
I placed my wreath of red p
...I WAS very interested to read in your excellent article Slaughter in the Fjords (April) that the wrecks of Eidsvold, Norge, and Hardy are off-limits to all diving activities, well the fact is Hardy isn’t there anymore!
My brother-in-law, who lives near Ballangen, told me years ago in the mid-sixties that an Italian salvage team were cutting the wreck up and transporting it away in barges. In 1972, as guests, my wife and
I attended the London reunion of survivors of the first Narvik battle, there I met the widow of Capt Warburton-Lee (Mrs
Sutherland) who told me that a shooting trophy belonging to her late husband had fallen through from his cabin and had been lying for many years in the bottom of the ship.
The salvage team found the
trophy, cleaned it up and returned it to her.
– Bill Sanders, HMS Ganges
h my y’
in the approaches to Narvik.
I was a gun captain on HMS
Epic return from Narvik
Too young for the tot
I DOUBT if anyone can better my career as a Senior Rating. I joined in September 1943
volunteered to join the new Radio Mechanic Branch, which up to then had consisted of Hostility Only ratings.
intensive course, survivors would be rated Leading Radio Mechanics, and 12 months later, Petty Officer, with promotion to CPO Radio Mechanic three years later.
rated LRM in October 1945. As far as I know I am the only RN PO to have been unable to draw a tot of rum as I was too young. In my 25 years’ service, 22
I survived the course and was On completion of a ten-month In December 1944 I
as a Boy and trained as a telegraphist at HMS St George, Isle of Man.
were spent in Senior Rates’ messes. Beat that! – Stan Collis, Ex CPO R EL Ashburton, New Zealand
Thanks for all your info
I’VE HAD a marvellous response from your readers to my request for information about coastal forces in World War 2.
I was looking for information with particular reference to HMML (HM Motor Launch) 118, which was adopted by the town of Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast, and which I was researching for our museum here.
I have had many telephone calls and emails offering information, memories, pictures and inspiring stories of wartime service with the coastal defence forces. I am really grateful to everyone who got in touch.
– Margaret Ballard,
Aldeburgh Museum, Suffolk
Getting my bearings
WITH REFERENCE to Norrie Tirrouez’ letter Seeing Double (March), I was Navigation Offi cer of HMS Bermuda in 1962. We never visited Helsinki. I think Norrie is confused. The port might be either Stockholm or Aarhus. The background suggests the
– Stewart Hett
My Tireless ‘tache
REFERRING to Mr Alston’s letter Mustachioed Mystery (April) it was possible to grow a moustache if you were a 7.5 rating, as I grew one as a Leading Steward on HMS Tireless in the1950s. I found the regulations in QR
– William Rowlands,
Dordon, Tamworth, Staffs
THE last Saturday of this month (June 26) will be celebrated across the nation to mark Armed Forces Day. Some, like the national event in Cardiff, the focus of the celebrations, will be large, prestigious and impressive, attracting national media coverage. Others will be more modest affairs, organised by volunteers at a local level. What links them all, large and small, is the determination to show the public’s support and appreciation for Service personnel past, present and future. The first Armed Forces Day was held in 2009 and built on the success of the former Veterans’ Day. Its aim was to increase public appreciation of the Services and also to recognise the contribution made by what is usually called
the wider Services community – including veterans, families and cadets.
The day before Armed Forces Day, Friday June 25, will be Uniform to Work Day, where reservists and cadet adult volunteers will be encouraged to wear their uniform to work.
June 2010 no.671: 56th year
Leviathan Block, HMS Nelson, Portsmouth PO1 3HH
Forces comprise more than 15 per cent of volunteer reservists who also lead civilian lives – let’s hope the Uniform to Work Day provides a visible reminder of their contribution. And on the same day, veterans should make sure they wear their HM Armed Forces Veterans Badge as a proud reminder of the service they gave to their country.
The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the MOD
Perhaps not many people realise that the serving Armed
Sarah Fletcher 023 9272 4194 Editor: Mike Gray 023 9272 5136
News editor: Richard
Hargreaves 023 9272 4163
Helen Craven 023 9272 5067
Fax 023 9283 8845
Lisa Taw 023 9272 0494 Subscriptions 023 9272 6284
Accounts 023 9272 0686 Advertising 023 9272 5062
Fax 023 9273 4448
General enquiries and
archives: 023 9272 5061/5064
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20
| Page 21
| Page 22
| Page 23
| Page 24
| Page 25
| Page 26
| Page 27
| Page 28
| Page 29
| Page 30
| Page 31
| Page 32
| Page 33
| Page 34
| Page 35
| Page 36
| Page 37
| Page 38
| Page 39
| Page 40
| Page 41
| Page 42
| Page 43
| Page 44
| Page 45
| Page 46
| Page 47
| Page 48
| Page 49
| Page 50
| Page 51
| Page 52
| Page 53
| Page 54
| Page 55
| Page 56